One of the largest demonstrations in Turkey on the eve of 8 March International Women’s Day was staged in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district on Sunday under the umbrella of the 8 March Women’s Platform.
The participants were searched by police before being allowed entry into the demonstration area, and the police tried stopping women who chanted slogans and carried placards in memory of Deniz Poyraz, a Kurdish activist murdered in the offices of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in 2021.
The women called for the reinstatement of the Istanbul Convention and for a joint struggle against the attacks targeting the women’s movement.
As speakers and participants demanded the immediate release of seriously ill political prisoners, thousands of handkerchiefs were handed out and waved in solidarity with women behind bars.
Another demonstration on Sunday was in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority city of Cizre (Cizîr).
Women joined in a march organised by the Women’s Assembly of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and Free Women’s Movement (TJA), calling for public education in mother tongue and protesting against official policies of assimilation.
HDP Women’s Assembly and TJA also organised a gathering in the Uludere (Qilaban) district of Şırnak (Sirnex). Groups visited women living in the villages in the region.
Nuran İzmir, HDP’s deputy for Şırnak made a short speech during one of the visits. She said:
“Our right to a Kurdish identity is being restricted. The will of the Kurdish women is not recognised and is denied. We demonstrate our resistance everywhere. There is constant violence against women under the protection of the political administration. Kurdish women are role models for all women with their resistance and fight against the patriarchy. A society can not be free without the liberation of women. And a free society can change the destiny of the whole country. We resist against the slavery imposed upon us and we will keep on fighting.”
The demonstration in the capital city of Ankara was organised by the Ankara Women’s Platform with the motto, ‘Against the violence of the State and the men, against the economic crisis and poverty.’
Thousands of women joined in the demonstration, chanting , ‘Women do not want war’, ‘Biji tekoşina jinan’ (‘Long live women’s struggle’), and ‘We won’t bow to your violence’
A statement for 8 March by the Ankara Women’s Platform was read in three languages, in Kurdish, Turkish and Arabic.
A panel was held in the southeastern province of Urfa (Riha). Sociologist Selma Ateş emphasised the gender inequality in women’s pay, saying that it led to women becoming poorer, and added that women were faced with a similar inequality in education and job opportunities.